Two deer battle while a third deer stands by in this trail camera photo. Credit: Courtesy of Gary Johnson

Since we began running trail camera photos five months ago, we’ve seen our share of deer-on-deer crime. Sometimes, those battles have involved bucks that are locking antlers. Other times — like today — the does get involved, standing on their hind legs and jousting with each other.

Gary Johnson sent in this trail cam photo from St. Clair County, Michigan, which I got a kick out of. My favorite part: The third deer, which is standing in the background, seemingly oblivious to the fight going on in front of it. Is it going to join in later, after a clear winner of this jousting match has been determined? Or is it simply going to ignore the entire ruckus?

In January, we ran another photo of two does battling, and I reached out to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist Nathan Bieber for an explanation of the behavior.

“I’ll go with a chicken analogy since we just started raising chickens,” Bieber said. “We’ve got four hens, and there’s clearly a boss lady hen that the others don’t mess with. The other three often peck at each other and make little charges at each other. They’re just sorting out where they sit in the pecking order.”

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to and tell us “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted.

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...